Real life is often more fascinating than fiction. This book of essays presents life growing up in small Midwestern towns from the early 1950s to mid-1960s. People from my small towns had distinct characteristics. They were open, nosy, friendly, helpful, and urged community conformity. My heart will always rejoice in my childhood experiences, which included trying to keep my active imagination entertained and learning to understand the adult world around me. My journey included happiness and sorrow, the spectrum of life that many children encounter. Come explore the mysteries of life through my “Cherry Tree Dares” at age eight, my black eye from “The Chartreuse Monarch” bicycle, and “The Last Kiss” between my mother and me.